Monday, June 30, 2008
That made me think more about eagles, which are my favorite from the animal world and the differences compared to ducks.
This is eagle school. Duck school is down on the lake.
Lesson 1: Eagles are Majestic with Character all their own
The eagle is the most majestic of all birds and not solely for its size and spirit. An eagle is around 3 feet tall and reaches over 6 ½ feet between the wings. A large bird! The eagle has come to symbolize the majesty of the air. The eagle takes the high ground if you will. A person's true character is revealed by what he does when no one is watching. The eagle is most often out of sight and out in the wild, the eagle is a very clean bird. Is this “eagle integrity”? Now on the other hand if you have seen ducks around lakes you know that they are not so clean.
Lesson 2: Eagles Are Made For the High Places
Unlike other birds like ducks that fly in the lowlands, eagles are made to fly in the high places, out of sight of the naked human eye and out of range of the hunter's rifle. Executives are meant to fly in high places and lead their company. The “high place” enables the leader to have the vision and the clarity to lead the company along the right path successful. Eagle-like executives are required to lead companies.
Lesson 3: Eagles Do Not Fly, They Soar
Eagles do not fly like other birds, flapping their wings profusely and using their own strength. Instead, eagles SOAR majestically, making use of the wind currents to gain height. What makes the eagle so special is that she sits on the rock and reads the wind and when the time is perfect she takes off and soars upward with her great wings. How will you know when the updraft is coming? How will you know how to avoid the hurricane or at least survive it? You need the right plan and then be able to capitalize on the right time to move. You will move with far more success and you can soar. Ducks fly but don’t soar.
Lesson 4: Eagles Go Through Specific Periods of Renewal
When they are about 60 years old, eagles go through a period of renewal. An eagle would find a secret place up in the mountains. It would start to claw at its face and tear out the feathers that have been damaged over the years. Through this, the eagle renews its strength by getting rid of the unnecessary things otherwise it would not be able to live till 120 years that it normally does. Business executives have business plans that need periodic renewal. Certainly not every 60 years. More like a quarterly refresher and then an annual in-depth review. Be like the eagles and do the plan renewals.
Lesson 5: Eagles Get Sick, Just Like Humans
When an eagle gets sick, it does not go to the doctor. It simply finds a favorite spot in the mountains and awaits the rays of the sun to heal it. The sun plays a major role in the life of an eagle and as such, is a major source of healing too. What is your “sun”? Is it a business coach, guide or mentor? Is it some motivational or inspirational element that has proven successful for you before? Keep these handy and use them often. They may not only help cure the sickness, they may prevent it.
Lesson 6: Even Eagles Need a Push Sometimes
High in the mountains, a baby eagle is born. One day, mama eagle takes one of her babies in her mouth and starts soaring into the skies. Suddenly, she drops the baby eaglet who starts to struggle. Just before the eaglet smashes against the rocks, mama eagle would sweep down and pick it up. This goes on for about five to eight times. Every time it is being dropped from the sky, the eaglet would struggle by flapping its wings. Mama is teaching her young to fly. Everyone needs some help sometimes. It may be a new idea, some coaching or just some reinforcement from a valued confidant.
So if you want to have eagles in your company, start with eagles not ducks.
Maver Management Group
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Tom Peters is the champion for companies providing excellence in customer service. He writes about it frequently and does so with passion on his blog. The type of passion he wants companies and employees to have in dealing with their customers.
Here is a list of ten quotes from Tom. While all of them are insightful, I particularly resonate with number 5.
1. Excellence comes from human beings doing things of value that customers find memorable.
2. Remember. You are the only human being in the world who can help this particular customer at this particular moment in time.
3. The thing that keeps a business ahead of the competition is excellence in execution.
4. Brand inside is more important than brand outside for sustained success.
5. Leaders' careers will usually be determined by their handling of one or two critical events that no one could possibly anticipate or plan for.
6. Make sure that you spend your time on the things you say are your priorities.
7. Tuck the shower curtain in and give away two-cent candy!
8. It's remarkable how quickly an excellent culture can be torn apart by poor management.
9. Irrelevance comes from always doing the things you know how to do in the way you've always done them.
10. If you love your company and love what you do, you will serve your customers better—period!
Maver Management Group
Monday, June 16, 2008
In his book “What Really Matters” John Pepper reviews many of the leadership lessons from his 40+ year career at Procter & Gamble and his work outside with United Way, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Yale University. I am reprinting an excerpt from the book here. The complete book is outstanding and I highly recommend it for all executives.
John Pepper’s model for effective personal leadership is:
To guide and enable outstanding accomplishments and purposeful growth of individuals and institutions to help create and sustain a purposeful future.
Key Attributes of a Leader
* Develops strong personal character – starting with integrity.
* Believes deeply and passionately in the purpose of the organization. A huge appetite to win. The team comes first. “One team. One Dream.”
* Commits and makes a huge personal contribution while helping others to be all they can be.
* Challenges the status quo constantly. Always seeking to improve.
* Conveys deep respect and trust in others and the despite to help them grow.
* Pursues and stands up for he/she believes in with wisdom courage and persistence.
Key Leadership Skill Behaviors
Envision – Create the future and change the game.
Engage – Build relationships and collaborations.
Energize – Inspire people, gain enrollment and commitment.
Enable – Build capability to deliver results.
Execute – show the way in delivering superior winning results.
Go get the book.
Maver Management Group
Monday, June 9, 2008
The press that followed, commented on Starbucks need to get refocused and to bring all of their employees in line with their corporate plan. Strategic planning and alignment is critical for business success. Or they commented on the need to re-instill the importance of superb interactions with their customers. After all, it is the atmosphere of the stores that really brings us all back and positive customer experience is critical for business success. Or they focused on the training that would enable the employees to produce the consistent quality cup no matter what the variety of additives. When we go into a Starbucks anywhere in the
I suspect you could get a significant amount of really important work done. It would be the thinking type of work that always gets pushed aside by more “urgent” matters or fire fighting. While you would have to adjust to not having many of the tools at hand during the period, you would be able to retrain your mind to do the work it really was created for you to do and make use of your core talents.
Giving executives these three hour periods is also something that we do in our consulting group. One of the results of the work described above is a focus on what is really important and then creating the means to capitalize on it most effectively. The company gets the means to accelerate its business progress and the leaders get the time to focus on what is most important to them including think time.
An impossible task? Not at all. Starbucks did it in more than 12,000 stores. You can do it too. If you want some help, call us and we can not only help you create the plans that will drive business progress but will also get you the uninterrupted think and work time that will make your business better than ever.
Maver Management Group